Grandma’s Tiny House

Grandma's Tiny HOuse

Image Credit: Charlesbridge, JaNay Brown-Wood/Illustrated by Priscilla Burris

Grandma’s Tiny House beautifully affirms Black family-love while being a super clever counting book. It reminds me of Just a Minute! by Yuyi Morales and that’s a pretty remarkable book!

The story begins with Grandma sitting in her very tiny house, waiting for her HUGE family, friends and neighbors to roll through. Dish by dish, pot by pot, all her guests bring delicious treats (mostly soul-food classics) to share. But very quickly, they run out of space until one of her granddaughters has a GREAT idea that’ll keep the party going (without it being a tight squeeze)!

There’s so much to love about this book. First of all, JaNay Brown-Wood’s rhyme is wonderful; simple and strong, with great read aloud/story-time appeal:

 

SEVEN cool uncles stroll up in a line, / with EIGHT jugs of lemonade, ice-cold and fine.

 

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Too Many Mangos

TooManyMangos

Image Credit: Island Heritage Publishing (Madden Corporation), Tammy Paikai/Don Robinson

Hawaiian Author. Hawaiian Illustrator. Hawaiian Press. Woooo Boy! What a beautiful thing to see a completely Hawaiian product come to fruition and be shared with the world. This little book made it to my library system in Ohio and I’m glad. ❤

Too Many Mangos is gorgeous. Just look at the illustrations! Kama and his little sister Nani learn the power of kindness and sharing. Whenever they visit their grandpa’s house, they like to climb the big mango tree in the back. Grandpa tells them to pick the ripe ones and hand them down to him. There are just too many mangos for them to eat alone so he sends them to the neighbors to share. Kama and Nani head out with a wagon full of lovely mangoes and at every house, they’re given a gift in exchange for the mangos! Aunty Pua gives them fresh banana macadamia nut muffins, their friends Momi and Kawai give them golden papayas and on and on. When they finally get home, grandpa prepares a feast with all their “mahalo (thank you) gifts.” Sharing can be very sweet.

TooManyMangos2

Image Credit: Island Heritage Publishing (Madden Corporation), Tammy Paikai/Don Robinson

Robinson’s illustrations are GORGEOUS. Look at those soft pastel colors and how beautifully he blends them. His human figures are chubby and remind me of Peanuts characters. While reading this book, you’ll feel like you’re on the island in the warm sun. This is a feel good story in both content and the brightness of the illustrations. Hope you have a copy of Too Many Mangos near you so you can enjoy this delightful book! 🙂

 

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Community, Sharing, Kindness, Relationships, Food Culture, Hawaiian Food, Hawaii, Cultural Diversity, Family, Friends, We Need Diverse Books, Ripe Mangos, Love, Grandfathers, Grandfathers-Grandchildren
Book Info: Too Many Mangos by Tammy Paikai/Illustrated by Don Robinson, 2009 Island Heritage Publishing (Madden Corporation), ISBN: 9781597007580

 

 

 

If You Plant a Seed

IfYouPlantaSeed

Image Credit: Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), Kadir Nelson

 

If You Plant a Seed is gorgeous. Kadir Nelson is a master painter and in this book, he combines his paintings with a memorable story about the importance of sharing and kindness.

In this simple tale, Rabbit and Mouse nurture their seeds, wait patiently and finally have the most beautiful tomato, carrot and cabbage plants. They nibble them and smile at the fruits of their labor. But soon, their bounty attracts curious visitors; the birds take notice of their beautiful vegetables. But Rabbit and Mouse are selfish, and so, chaos happens and a major argument ensues. Slowly they realize that it’s much better to be kind and to share, because when you’re kind, that kindness grows and grows and maybe you’ll get more than you ever imagined.

This book is one of my favorites because the story is so simple yet so powerful. There’s nothing more powerful than a message of love and kindness and this book teaches that message to little ones in a beautiful way. Nelson’s oil paintings are beautifully vibrant and alive. Lush vegetables and realistic animals fill the pages. Your children will love pointing out all the animals! This is a great book to add to your collection.

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Animals, Lessons, Friendship, Gardening, Teamwork, Community, Kindness, Sharing, Springtime
Book Info: If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson, 2015 Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), ISBN: 9780062298898

The Good Little Book

TheGoodLittleBook

Image Credit: Tundra Books (Penguin Random House), Kyo Maclear/Marion Arbona

 

“There is no frigate like a book” – Emily Dickinson

As Dickinson wisely says above and as any lover of reading knows, a good book can take you places. You don’t need tickets or luggage. All you need is a great story and a comfy place to sit.

The Good Little Book is delightful. If you’re looking for an excellent book about the power of reading, this is the one. In the first few pages of the story, we learn that The Good Little Book is very average; it doesn’t have any medals or honors but for just the right person, it can become the perfect book. A boy discovers it while sitting in the study after being sent there to reflect on his behavior. Before he knows it, he’s consumed by the story and The Good Little Book takes him to faraway lands. As time passes, he reads the book over and over again but one day he loses it on the street! He searches all over for his book and though he doesn’t give up hope, he starts to read MORE stories. Maybe he’ll be okay without The Good Little Book after all…

Arbona’s gouache and pencil illustrations are very quirky and memorable. They suit the quiet yet fantastical tone of the story and the palette she uses includes a lot of rich, earthy hues. I love that the book we read IS The Good Little Book…his cute smile graces the front cover and his burgundy body with his cheeky expressions can be found on just about every page. This is quite a good little book that your family will enjoy!

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Encouraging Reading, Discussion, Community, Imagination, Sharing
Book Info: The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear/Illustrated by Marion Arbona, 2015 Tundra Books (Penguin Random House), ISBN: 9781770494510

Maddi’s Fridge

Maddi's Fridge

Image Credit: Flashlight Press, Lois Brandt/Vin Vogel

Childhood hunger is a huge problem in the U.S. In 2014, 15.3 million kids lived in food insecure households; read more about it here. This is why books like Maddi’s Fridge are important. They are conversation starters and get kids thinking about how they can be more informed and how they can help those they care about. Diversity in children’s books, in my opinion, also includes books that “expand minds” and teach children about social issues. In many classrooms around the country, there are children like Maddi and close friends like Sophia. Brandt addresses these issues and includes helpful information at the end of the book about childhood hunger and how to help.

In Maddi’s Fridge, Maddi and Sophia are best friends but one day Sophia notices Maddi only has a bottle of milk in her fridge and a loaf of bread. Maddi is embarrassed and makes her promise not to tell anyone. When Sophia gets home, she can’t help but look at the abundance of food in her fridge and think about her friend’s situation. Sophia keeps trying to bring food to school for her friend but…some foods aren’t meant to be kept in a backpack all day! Maddi also helps Sophia in the best way a friend can; through encouragement and support. This is one of my favorite books about friendship because it is quietly powerful and memorable. Vogel’s bright comic-style digital art illustrations add a charm to the book. Teachers and parents, keep an eye on this book for your little ones.

Recommended for: All ages especially 1st grade and up
Great for: Social issues, Discussion, Diversity, Classroom, Volunteering, Friendship, Poverty, Homelessness, Sharing
Book Info: Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt/Illustrated by Vin Vogel, 2014 Flashlight Press, ISBN: 9781936261291